In this month’s Workplace Law we have a video from Nick Hobden, Head of Employment, where he answers some key questions for employers around Covid vaccinations, self-isolating, SSP and CSP. We also have some articles on flexible working and the cost of refusal, the increase to the National Minimum Wage, and also our thoughts on the recent dismissal of a care home worker for refusal of a vaccine.
The government has confirmed that the National Living Wage (NLW) will increase along with all other hourly rates as recommended by the Low Pay Commission (LPC).
The Employment Tribunal (ET) has found that in the case of Allette (A) v Scarsdale Grange Nursing Home Ltd (SGNH Ltd), the dismissal of a care home employee, for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in January 2021, was not unfair.
Refusing flexible working requests costs UK firms £2 billion a year. Flexonomics, a report commissioned by construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine and flexible working campaigner, Mother Pukka, found that flexible working, annually, contributed £37bn to the UK economy.
In an article for People Management, Ben Stepney explains what businesses can do to mitigate the risk of such claims from employees, and how they should respond
If you had asked people in March 2020 whether we would still be battling the pandemic nearly 2 years later, most people would look at you in a state of shock; but here we are. At the time of writing, the number of cases in the UK of the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, had reached over 45,000.
As another difficult year draws to a close, it is only sensible to start looking towards 2022 and thinking of the potential opportunities and challenges that may face employers and employees alike. One of these challenges will likely be the issue of flexible working.
In this month’s Workplace Law we discuss the temporary change in the law regarding statutory sick pay (SSP) which now means that self-certification for sick leave (providing evidence of illness) has been extended from 7 days to 28 days. We look at the rising cases of the Omicron variant and how employers can prepare, and we also have 'part two' of our two part series relating to restrictive covenants.
The ‘compulsory vaccinations’ discussion continues to be at the forefront of many employers’ minds. Should we adopt this, should we not and if we do, what are the implications? Ben Stepney from our employment team shared his expertise on the matter with People Management
In this month’s Workplace Law we discuss the fire and rehire process and what employers need to consider, we look at how to protect confidential and sensitive information through the use of restrictive covenants in employee contracts, especially during a time when the job market is booming, and we also take a look at ICO’s call for help to shape a new user-friendly resource to replace the ICO’s existing guidance on data protection and employment practices.
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has launched a call for views on data protection and employment practices to help shape a new user-friendly resource to replace the ICO’s existing guidance on the topic. This will be “employer focused”. The update stems from concerns regarding digital surveillance of employees, particularly remote monitoring of employees working from home, and lack of guidance on this area.
The UK jobs market is booming and employers across many sectors are struggling to recruit the staff they need. It is probably not a coincidence that over the last year we have seen an increase in enquiries from employers regarding employee competition concerns.
Fire and rehire is the process of terminating an existing employment contract, usually on notice, and then offering to rehire the employee on amended terms, which are less favourable to the employee. It is also known as dismissal and re-engagement.
On the 27 October 201 Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the contents of his Budget in the House of Commons, where he set out the government's tax and spending plans for the year ahead. He claimed that the economy is back on track, opening with “employment is up, investment is growing, public finances are stabilising and wages are rising”. It includes a range of announcements that impact on individuals and businesses. Here, experts from across our departments explore exactly what this means for you and your business.
In this month’s Workplace Law we discuss whether employers can make Covid-19 vaccinations compulsory and what considerations need to be made. We give a summary of the gender pay gap reporting results that would normally be published on 5 April each year but as a result of the pandemic, employers were given until 5 October 2021 to report their figures for 2020/2021. We also highlight why it is so important for employers to offer menopause support, and how they can do this, following a rise in cases where the menopause is referenced in employment tribunals.
Since April 2017, private and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees have been legally required to publish and report specific figures about their gender pay gap by the 4 April each year.
The 18 October marked World Menopause Day, which aims to help raise awareness of the menopause and support for those going through it.
It is important for both employers and employees to know their respective rights in relation to maternity leave. Ignorance could lead to confusion, misunderstandings, discrimination and unfair dismissal claims or employees not receiving their entitlements.
In this month’s Workplace Law we look at the proposed changes to the rules on when employees can request flexible working. This is a key topic for employers to pay attention to, and we also explore the repercussions of not doing so, in an article examining a recent case of indirect discrimination.
The team recently hosted our latest HR Club, looking at how to prevent and combat bullying and harassment claims in the workplace. This was really well attended and is clearly a subject of great interest. We have included a write up of the session below, as well as a guest article from Andy Hillier of the Association of Chairs, who has written a piece on dealing with media questions about bullying claims.
We would also like to welcome the newest member of our team, Jessica Wells.
In 2019 a Europe wide study found that reports of discrimination were highest in the UK, where 38% of respondents felt that they had been discriminated against at work.
The Government has recently announced a new proposal, to allow every employee in Great Britain to request flexible working – regardless of time served in employment.
In this month’s Workplace Law, we explore the options for restructuring and redundancies as the furlough scheme comes to a close at the end of September, we look at the key signs of stress and distress and how to combat burn out, and also discuss what is best practice when it comes to testing employees for COVID-19. If you have any questions about any of these issues please do get in touch.
The pandemic has made the hiring process more challenging than ever, with new joiners unable to meet colleagues face-to-face and easily integrate themselves into the business and its culture.
Whilst the working landscape has dramatically changed over the last year or so, disciplinary and grievance procedures continue to apply in the same way as before the pandemic began.
After being extended several times, the furlough scheme is due to finally close at the end of September this year. The government has been encouraging this wind down of the furlough scheme since the beginning of July, when employers had to begin paying 10% of their furloughed workers’ wages.
Since the introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) in March 2020, the government estimates that over 11.6 million jobs have been furloughed and 1.9 million jobs still remain on furlough. However, following ‘Freedom Day’, more and more businesses have begun the return to the traditional working environment or are in the process of planning to.
For many employees, the past 18 months may well have been spent working from home. As they begin to return to the office, old issues may be raised once more, or businesses may well find that there are new potential disciplinary matters to deal with.
Now, more than ever, the need for a diverse and inclusive workplace is clear. In fact, a strong diversity and inclusion strategy can help your business attract top talent and drive innovative results.
As many businesses start to return to the workplace now that the ‘work from home’ advice has been lifted, employers are starting to grapple with a range of potential issues. In this month’s Workplace Law, we examine a selection of these, including responding to bullying and harassment in the workplace, how best to support employees with mental health issues, and how best to approach the somewhat thorny issue of mask wearing. If you have any questions about any of these issues please do get in touch.
Research has shown that many remote workers are clocking in more hours and facing a bigger workload then before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Remote workers have developed habits of taking shorter lunch breaks and working through sickness.
Employers welcoming staff back into the workplace may wish to introduce processes and protocols around encouraging their employees to be regularly tested for COVID, to help reduce the spread of the virus and keep employees and customers safe. Here, we look at the key things businesses need to consider when implementing testing programmes.
Recent Government guidance recommends a ‘gradual return to the workplace over the summer’. Yet with cases rising rapidly and concern about new, more easily transmissible variants, some employees may have real anxiety about returning to the workplace or their journey to work if it involves public transport.
There is no longer a legal requirement for people in England to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces, the Government guidance now states that businesses should “encourage and recommend” visitors and staff to wear face masks. This has prompted some confusion and backlash from business groups. Here we explore what employers need to consider.
While for the fortunate majority COVID-19 is a relatively short-lived and mild illness, for others it can be a very serious and sadly sometimes fatal disease. For some, the virus can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection. This ‘long COVID’ could hugely impact someone's ability to work or cause them to take prolonged periods of sickness absence.
Following the Prime Minister’s most recent announcement, the work-from-home advice will officially be lifted on July 19th. This means that businesses can finally begin to regain some sense of normality with more workers returning to the workplace.
The roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine has been welcomed by most of the nation. In particular, employers and business owners are hoping that the uptake in vaccinations will make it much easier for businesses to open, stay open and not have to contend with staff shortages due to staff having to isolate due to exposure to COVID-19.
Although current government advice until 19 July remains that everyone who can work from home should do so, many business have already begun the transition back into an office working environment or are in the process of planning this. Returning to the office after a lengthy absence, whether from a career break or maternity leave, can be a daunting prospect at the best of times
In this month’s edition of Workplace Law we have a reminder about the changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) coming into effect from tomorrow 1 July. We discuss the legalities of monitoring employees who work from home and we also look at hybrid working, and considerations for employees working from home.
As employers look for ways they can ensure that productivity levels do not suffer through home working, some are turning their attention to the practice of employee monitoring and how it operates as the employer’s eyes and ears in managing employee output remotely. In this article we explore the legalities of such an approach and what any business considering employee monitoring needs to carefully consider.
The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined our understanding of flexible working and has seen a huge rise in remote and latterly hybrid working.
In the latest article as part of our ‘return to the office’ series, we discuss the safeguards that businesses should consider when adopting a new hybrid-working policy.
At our most recent HR Club, we had a wide ranging discussion about the key challenges and opportunities associated with returning to the workforce. What quickly became apparent is that there is clearly no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Over the coming weeks, we will be exploring a wide range of topics, to help support businesses as they look to the future of work. In this first article, we discuss the importance of consulting and communicating with employees as a first step in introducing any new working practices.
In this month’s edition of Workplace Law we look at what employers should consider when it comes to staff requests for foreign holidays, post-holiday quarantine and business travel as well as a recent EAT ruling relating to an unfair dismissal claim from an employee on his implementation of new health and safety procedures in his workplace.
We have reached Step 3 in the UK government’s Roadmap back to normality. Non-essential foreign travel is allowed once again. This allows people in England and Scotland to go on holidays abroad to ‘green list’ countries.
In the case of Sinclair v Trackwork Limited, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruled that an employee was automatically unfairly dismissed under Section 100(1)(a) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) in circumstances where his implementation of new health and safety procedures caused upset and friction within the workforce.
In this month’s edition of Workplace Law we look at two very different recent rulings. The first concerns a claim of sexual discrimination in relation to shared parental leave and the second explores the Court of Appeal’s ruling against Addison Lee in a further boost to gig economy workers.
We also dive into two Covid-19 related topics with a piece that highlights the legal and ethical considerations of vaccine passports and an article that gives an insight into how to deal with employees who do not wish to return to the office after lockdown.
If you have any questions about these – or any other employment law related – topics, then please get in touch.
“Could I see your vaccine passport please?” This a stark request for personal special category of data that many of us could be facing very soon, and as the UK begins to unlock national restrictions and the COVID-19 vaccine programme progresses, the question of whether vaccine passports should play a part in this process continues to dominant the COVID-19 related news.
In Price v Powys County Council, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) were asked to rule on whether a male employee on Shared Parental Leave (‘SPL’) could compare their pay to a female employee on Adoption Leave for the purposes of a sex discrimination claim.
In the latest victory for gig economy workers following Uber’s loss at the Supreme Court last month, the Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by the company Addison Lee against an employment tribunal decision which found that drivers were entitled to the minimum wage from the time they logged on as ready to take passengers to the time they logged off.
An employment tribunal was recently called to decide on whether the dismissal of a laser operator was automatically unfair. Rodgers v Leeds Laser Cutting Ltd involved an employee who was dismissed after refusing to return to the workplace until ‘lockdown restrictions eased’ because he was worried for the health and wellbeing of his children who were particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
In this edition of Workplace Law we discuss the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding equal pay for retail employees and distribution employees; updated government guidance for those deemed clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 and changes to Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) regarding health and safety rights.
On the 1 March 2021, the government laid an order before Parliament to amend the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) and level the playing field between the protection offered to “employees” and “workers” in the workplace.
On 17 March 2021, the Government released new guidance for people in the category of clinically extremely vulnerable.
A recent decision by the Supreme Court in Asda Stores Ltd v Brierley now means that retail employees can be compared to distribution employees in equal pay claims made under the Equal Pay Act 1970 and Equality Act 2010 (EA 2010).
Leading South East law firm, Thomson Snell & Passmore, has advised the shareholders of Tropical Blinds Limited in relation to the sale of their shares to Mzuri Group.
Nick Hobden, Head of Employment, shares his views on the Chancellor’s announcement in the Budget about the extension of the furlough scheme.
Ben Stepney from our employment team recently spoke to Kent Business about the need to be very cautious when it comes to Covid-19 vaccination policies in the workplace.
In this edition of Workplace Law we discuss the upcoming changes to IR35, the issue of whether or not employers can mandate their staff receive the COVID vaccination and the recent Supreme Court ruling and what that means for the gig economy.
Long talked about changes to off-payroll working rules for private sector organisations, which were originally planned for April 2020, are coming into force from 6 April 2021.
Ben Stepney from our employment team recently spoke to You Money about the legalities of so called ‘no jab no job’ clauses.
A recent BBC article highlighted how the havoc wrecked on the aviation industry has affected a huge number of pilots.
Despite current lockdown rules in the UK stating that people should ‘work from home wherever possible’ and that employers should ‘take every step possible’ to achieve this, there have been numerous reports in the media recently about people feeling they are being asked to attend the workplace unnecessarily or unsafely.
Happy new year to all our readers! We hope 2021 has got off to a good start for you all. In this edition of Workplace Law we cover whistleblowing, indirect discrimination and dementia in the workplace.
In the final part of our series on Dementia in the Workplace consider what to do if you are an employee who has been diagnosed with dementia. We discuss the obligations that may arise on behalf of both you and your employer, and the extra support you will be entitled to receive.
Devon and Cornwall Police recently failed in its appeal against an employment tribunal decision that found the act of transferring a police officer from a Response Team role to an office role after becoming pregnant was discriminatory, on the grounds of both her pregnancy and her sex.
On the 14 January 2021, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) imposed a number of additional requirements on two firms in relation to the whistleblowing systems and controls.
On the 31st December 2020 HMRC published the identity of 139 companies who have failed to pay national minimum wage (NMW) to their employees between 2016 and 2018.
Following the end of the UK-EU transition period on 31 December 2020, a new system of business immigration will be in place to govern how businesses recruit staff from abroad. It will apply to all immigrants whether they are from the European Economic Area or from further overseas.
In this next edition of our Dementia in the Workplace series, we look at the rights of employees who act as unpaid carers, and the obligations employers have in relation to them.
The end of October brings the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘CJRS’), the unprecedented package of support that at its peak subsidised wages for around 30% of the workforce throughout the UK, and as of September 2020 cost close to £40 billion and counting.
Throughout our story, we will be following a local restaurant called The Sumptuous Pizzeria (TSP). TSP is a small, local, family run Pizzeria which offers both a sit-in dining experience, take-away and delivery.
You may be thinking…Brexit has already happened and so it has, but the real issues arise upon the ending of the transition period on 31st December 2020.
The German branch of the Swedish clothing manufacturer H&M have been handed a huge fine in excess of €35 million by the Hamburg Data Protection Authority, as a result of a breach of GDPR rules concerning employee data.
Throughout our story, we will be following a local restaurant called The Sumptuous Pizzeria (TSP). As the name suggests, TSP is a small, local, family run Pizzeria which offers both a sit-in dining experience, take-away and delivery.
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, TSP made use of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and furloughed a number of its staff in order to save the business as a whole.
At the beginning of this year we considered writing a number of articles on the life-cycle of an employer to help our clients with a number of common issues that cropped up during this process.
Nick Hobden, head of employment explains the new support schemes announced by the Government
This case concerns an Austrian lawyer, Facebook, the Irish Data Protection Commission and GDPR. But please read on as it may actually be relevant to your organisation.
An employee can be fairly dismissed without any procedure after a breakdown in working relations.
As businesses begin admitting people back to their workplaces, many will be logging customer and visitor information for the purposes of contact tracing.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has said that the NHS Test and Trace system should provide employees who have to take time off from work to self-isolate with full pay. He considers that this would increase people’s engagement with the system.
If redundancies are still needed, you need to consider which roles are at risk of redundancy. As much as possible you should approach this on a ’no names’ basis. It is the role that is redundant, not the individual employee.
The Government has today released further details regarding the Job Retention Bonus.
In March 2020 the government rolled out the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which allowed organisations to place their workforce on ‘furlough’.
During an employee’s employment, you may well pay for them to attend training courses.
On 22 May 2020 the government announced that a 14 day quarantine period will be introduced for most people arriving in the UK from overseas from 8 June 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic had and continues to have a profound impact on the way we live our lives and so it is no surprise then that it has affected the way we do business.
The easing of lockdown and the winding down of the furlough (CJRS) scheme on 31 October means that we could see many businesses looking to implement redundancies.